Rainforests continue to fall but hope may rest in a market solution
Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com
December 11, 2008
This article appears at e360, the Yale School of Forestry’s online environmental magazine
Environmentalists attempting to preserve the vanishing Amazon rain forest now confront a stark paradox: Never before have they succeeded in protecting so much of the world’s largest tropical forest, yet never before has so much of it simultaneously been destroyed. The key question today is whether new models of conservation — including an increasingly popular, market-based program known as REDD — will be able to reverse the steady loss of tropical forests, not only in the Amazon, but also in Indonesia, Borneo, and Africa’s Congo basin, where virgin woodlands continue to be razed at an unprecedented rate.
Hope for avoiding the worst outcomes in the Amazon, Indonesia, and other tropical forest regions increasingly rests today on the belief that markets will soon pay for the services provided by healthy rain forests, which include biodiversity maintenance, rainfall generation, carbon sequestration, and moderation of the world’s climate. This idea is quickly gaining momentum as a wide range of interests — including global banks and financiers, development experts, government policymakers, and environmentalists — have embraced the concept that the best way to keep forests intact is to pay rain forest nations, and the people who inhabit the forests, not to chop them down.
Continued at As Rain Forests Disappear, A Market Solution Emerges